Jose Bautista rips 'ignorant' bat flip critics in online essay
Dominican slugger pens essay criticizing media reps who called his celebration disrespectful
Jose Bautista has a message for those who questioned his now famous bat flip in this year's Blue Jays playoff run: "The emotion got to me. It's in my DNA. If you think that makes me a jerk, that's fine."
His Game 5 home run against the Texas Rangers won the American League Division Series for the Blue Jays and cemented his hero status in Toronto. But elsewhere, the Dominican slugger was ripped for showboating and disrespecting both the Rangers and the game of baseball itself.
The Jays' right fielder goes straight after those critics in a new essay posted on The Players Tribune.
It's the closest I have ever felt to being a superhero.- Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays rightfielder
"Let's call it what it is. Let's not have these loaded conversations about 'character' and the integrity of the game every time certain players show emotion in a big moment. That kind of thinking is not just old school. It's just ignorant," Bautista writes.
He also takes the opportunity to discuss the challenge Dominican players face when playing in the big leagues.
"The cultural change can be a real shock," he writes.
"I cannot tell you how many times I've seen incredible players get labelled as lazy or disrespectful based on shallow assumptions like 'body language.' (But more on that another time.)"
The essay also gives Jays fans a look at what Bautista was thinking as he strode to the plate that night.
"It's the closest I have ever felt to being a superhero. I felt like I was Batman, and the villain had the girl dangling off the edge of the building. My adrenaline wasn't 10 out of 10. It was 10 million out of 10," Bautista writes.
Those great feelings continued, Bautista said, after the game.
"Someone sent me a video of a subway car in Toronto after the game. Everybody on the train was doing the olé soccer chant with my name. Joséee, José, José Joséee! — That felt amazing."
The Blue Jays were eventually knocked out of the playoffs by the Kansas City Royals, who went on to win the whole thing, but in the weeks following their last game, the Jays confirmed Bautista will be back next season.
And it's clear from his essay, he won't be toning down his excitement.